Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 9 July 2018: National Meeting on Inland Fishworkers in Delhi on July 10, 2018

The NATIONAL PLATFORM FOR SMALL SCALE FISH WORKERS (INLAND) is convening a Consultative Meeting on Livelihood Issues of Inland Small Scale Fish Workers 10thJuly 2018, Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi.

The Invitation letter says: “India is gifted with vast and varied inland water bodies bearing rich fish resources.Rivers and canals, reservoirs, ponds and tanks, oxbow lakes, wetlands, backwaters and estuaries yield 7.21 million tonnes of fish which is more than 66% of total fish production of the country. The sector sustains about 4 million fish workers and a total population of around 2 crores.Fish provides good quality animal protein rich in minerals and vitamins. About 800 million Indians eat fish. After milk, fish is the largest source of our animal protein.These huge resources are under severe stress. Rivers are poisoned with heavy pollution. Diversion of water from rivers is harming their ecological flow.

Wetlands, lakes and ponds are being encroached and filled up by industries and real estates. Poor watershed management in catchment areas is cutting down the sources of water of rivers, lakes and wetlands. Natural storm water drainage is intervened by construction of roads, railway tracks and real estate, thus subjecting large number of ponds to intermittent overflow. Runoff from chemical agriculture is destroying the fish resources of wetlands and paddy fields.Finally, the mega projects planned under Blue Revolution, River Connection and National Waterways are going to drive last nails to the coffin of riverine and natural water body based ecology.”

The meeting has been convened with a view to –

  1. Develop an understanding of the situation of small scale fish workers in our country and identify the main issues;
  2. Update the participants regarding the activities of the National Platform including the efforts towards adoption of a National Policy on Inland Fisheries;
  3. Collect opinions and suggestions for strategies to address the main issues;
  4. Seek support from and establish linkages with concerned organisations and individuals; and
  5. Prepare a road map for working together.

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERMEN

Gujarat Fishermen suffering due to dry Narmada A comprehensive report on Narmada situation now. It could have been sharper and clearer. Interestingly, it says price of female Hilsa fish is much higher than the price of male Hilsa fish. https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/no-fish-in-water-vapour-in-gujarat-fishermen-are-suffering-due-to-narmada-waters/300340 (16 July 2018)

HYDRO POWER

Centre Power Minister statement shows hydro projects neither competitive nor viable Union Power Minister R K Singh accepts that Hydropower projects are no longer competitive or viable and that there has been downturn in hydropower development, investment and power generation from hydro projects. He also accepted that centre has not been able to finalise the new hydropower policy for the last four years. http://www.uniindia.com/centre-yet-to-finalise-hydro-power-policy-rk-singh/states/news/1278505.html (3 July 2018) 

He rightly says Hydro should be used for Peaking, but there is no impact assessment of of peaking power generation and there is no agency even monitoring, assessing and optimising peaking operation of hydro projects.http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=180360 (3 July 2018)

The Union Power Minister also said: The Centre has asked Himachal and other hill states to waive 13 per cent free power from six to 10 years, check delays in clearances. He remained non-committal on incentivising the sagging hydropower sector. The Pandya panel, in its report submitted to the Ministry of Power in 2016, had recommended that the Centre should declare hydropower as a renewable source of green energy, along the lines of solar and wind energy. This, along with other cost-cutting measures, would bring down the cost of hydropower energy to Rs 5 per unit from the staggering Rs 9 per unit that had made it unsalable to power distribution companies, the panel had recommended. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/waive-free-power-condition-check-delays-centre/614563.html (3 July 2018)

The Minutes of the EAC meeting for River Valley Projects held on June 28. Some key notables.

– EAC discusses the Beas River Basin study without making the draft of the study public so that no one else can discuss or send submissions. It agrees not to drop many of the projects that study has asked to be dropped. EAC even agrees to consider reduction in minimum E flows that the study has recommended.

– EAC agrees to change in EC for the Tanakpur project without any due process.

– For Renuka Dam on Giri River (Yamuna basin) in HP, the EC agrees to consider change in land requirements without fresh EIA or consultations.

– EAC agrees to remodelling of Kosi Canal in UP, including a new barrage, without any pubic hearings.

– For 191 MW Thana Plaun HEP in HP, EC asks for fresh baseline study, but not fresh EIA and public consultation. http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/05072018I7FWE7TC15thEACFinalMoMHydro.pdf (28 June 2018)

Arunachal Pradesh Govt terminates 15 HEP The GoAP has recently terminated 15 hydropower projects consisting of 1586.4 MW in the state. The terminated projects are Kameng-1 (1120 MW), Poma (12 MW), Sae Chu (15 MW), Sangoshi (12.50 MW), Yemsing (15 MW), Simen (21 MW), Tirap St-II (10 MW), Tagurshit St-II (27.50 MW), Pacha (10 MW), Lower Ngorgum (18 MW), Doimukh (80 MW), Paikangrong (2.40 MW), Gongri (144 MW), Upper Ngorgum (9 MW) and Jameri (90 MW).

– The terminated project with the highest capacity Kameng-1 was supposed to be developed by NEEPCO and the lowest one Paikangrong by Delhi based SMJ consultants Pvt Ltd. The Poma project was allocated to a travel agent based in Mumbai, Patel Tours & Travels Ltd.

– Faced with the reported inordinate delay in their execution, the Ministry of Power has earlier suggested the state govt to scrap as many as half the nearly 100 hydroelectric projects awarded to private and state-run developers in the state. http://echoofarunachal.in/2018/07/06/goap-terminates-15-hydropower-projects/ (5 July 2018)

Uttrakhand Pithoragarh cloudburst affects Seraghat Hydro project Cloud burst (3rd event this monsoon season in Uttrakhand so far), hits Munsiari’s Balati in Pithoragarh July 2 morning, damaging Seraghat Hydro Power Project. No Casualty reported so far. Rishikesh-Gangotri route on NH-94 was closed following landslides occurring near Kunjapuri Devi Temple, Rishikesh since July 1. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/uttarakhand-cloudburst-in-pithoragarh-damages-seraghat-dam-hydro-power-plant/videoshow/64822920.cms (3 July 2018)

Here is one more article reminds about the role hydropower projects played in Uttarakhand flood disaster of June 2013, five years ago. https://scroll.in/article/885292/five-years-after-uttarakhand-floods-survivors-wait-for-wounds-to-heal-lessons-remain-unlearned (6 July 2018)

MORE CLOUD BURSTS, LANDSLIDES, FLOOD NEWS FROM HIMALAYAN STATES

Video showing Pithoragarh cloudburst impact:  https://in.news.yahoo.com/watch-cloudburst-hits-uttarakhands-munsiari-054000522.html (3 July 2018)

Continuous heavy rains also caused landslide in Mussoorie city on July 3. Here is a video of  landslide at Kempty Fall because of which a lot of tourists were stuck.

Himachal Pradesh Shimla rain breaks 68-yr record Shimla received record rainfall of 118.6 mm in the last 24 hours, which is the highest in the city in a day in the last 68 years as per the data available with MET department since 1951. The same day, IMD recorded 23.5 mm rainfall in Shimla dist as a whole, showing that rest of the district did not get that high rainfall. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/shimla-rain-breaks-68-yr-record/614551.html (4 July 2018)

There was one more cloudburst incident reported in AnjaniMahadev area, Mandi on July 2. The debris swept by gushing water amid heavy rains accumulated in the Anjaninullah. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/cloudburst-in-manali-no-casualty-reported/614110.html (3 July 2018)

Similarly Manali-Leh highway was blocked for nearly 30 hours at 10 am on June 28 due to landslides and floods triggered by heavy rainfall trapping over 1000 vehicles mostly tourists along different parts of highway which was finally opened around 3 pm on June 29.

The highway was blocked after floods in Teling Nullah near Koksar village. There was flood in Pagal Nullah which is close to Teling Nullah, covering 300 m of highway with tonnes of debris by afternoon. A landslide near Beas Nullah, in which huge boulders fell on the road, about 19 km before Rohtang Pass, blocked another portion of highway around midnight.

There were reports of floods in Zingzingbar near Baralacha Pass as well. The floods and landslides not only blocked the highway but also halted access to Lahaul, Spiti and Pangi Valleys. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/landslide-floods-rain-havoc-on-leh-highway-for-30-hours/articleshow/64801648.cms (30 June 2018)

On July 2, the Met Department recorded 100 mm of rainfall within 30 minutes in Shimla that resulted in the choking of drains and garbage and muck. An under-construction parking lot in the Kaithu area was damaged due to a hill slip. A massive landslide was reported on the Sanjauli bypass, leading to a huge traffic jam. Another major landslide was reported near Kamla Nehru Hospital. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/rain-hits-life-in-shimla/614109.html (3 July 2018)

As per this report, cloudbursts (rainfall has exceeded 100 mm per hour, an indicative definition) have increased from an average of five days per year between 2001 and 2005 to over 15 days per year between 2006 and 2013. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/natural-disasters/uttarakhand-cloudburst-urbanisation-warming-likely-factors-for-high-impact-60999 (2 July 2018)

Arunachal Pradesh 4 ITBP personnel killed in landslide 4 ITBP personnel were crushed to death when a huge boulder, loosened by monsoon rains, rolled down a mountain and hit their vehicle on the Basar-Akajan road in Lower Siang district on July 28, police said.This is the second landslide-related incident in the state within five days. The toll due to landslips this monsoon has risen to nine.On June 24, five labourers were buried alive when a retaining wall of an under-construction RCC building collapsed on a labour barrack at Donyi Colony. http://zeenews.india.com/india/four-itbp-personnel-killed-in-landslide-in-arunachal-2121182.html (29 June 2018)

Amar Nath Yatra Heavy rains, landslides affect Yatra A landslide struck the yatra route between Brarimarg and Railpathri on July 3 night, resulting in the death of three pilgrims and injuring four others, including one yatri. https://www.firstpost.com/india/amarnath-yatra-suspended-due-to-landslides-pilgrims-stranded-on-pahalgam-baltal-routes-toll-rises-to-11-4667921.html (5 July 2018) 

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Meanwhile, landslides triggered after heavy rainfall hampered rescue operation of over 1500 KailashMansarovar pilgrims on July 3 stranded in Nepal and Tibbet while returning from Yatra.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kailash-mansarovar-yatra-1-600-indian-pilgrims-stranded-after-landslides-rains/story-6IgDgsoFG2S0iso3TP7XNP.html (4 July 2018)

DAMS

MoWR Govt, Judiciary fail to see how WAPCOS is involved in conflict of interest PIB release on WAPCOS’s 50 years says: “WAPCOS has done Survey & Investigation/Pre-Feasibility/DPRs for more than 550 Projects in Irrigation, Water Resources and Agricultural sectors. The company has contributed in development of over 15 Million Hactare irrigation potential; more than 200 projects in ports and inland navigation; over 500 projects in water supply and sanitation, rural and urban development, roads and highway engineering, EIAs for over 250 projects in the fields of irrigation, hydro/thermal power, ports and harbours in India and abroad.

How can an organisation that is involved in development also do EIAs? There is clear conflict of interest, but strangely, our EACs or MoEF or NGT or Judiciary does not understand this conflict of interest issue.http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=180356 (3 July 2018)

At the conference, Union WR Minister Gadkariji makes a rather strange statement, saying that Narmada has surplus water to transfer to Rajasthan!: At a conference to commemorate 50 years of the public sector consultancy enterprise, WAPCOS, Mr. Gadkari outlined plans by his Ministry to transfer water from the Narmada in Gujarat to 13 districts of Rajasthan. “There’s excess water flowing off the Narmada into the sea inspite of the Sardar Sarovar dam. Maybe we could divert some of the water to Kandla — a Gujarat port — and then through a 800-km canal direct water to some of Rajasthan’s most parched districts,” he said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/unfortunate-that-sushma-swaraj-was-trolled-gadkari/article24320437.ece (3 July 2018)

Further, this PIB PR says: “In the Hydro-Power sector; WAPCOS has completed almost 52 Hydro-Power Projects in 19 countries with an installed capacity of more than 20,500 MW; over 105 Hydro Power Projects in India with an installed capacity of more than 9,000 MW. In Thermal Power; the Company has successfully completed 12 overseas projects with installed capacity of more than 2,900 MW and 37 projects in India with an installed capacity of more than 12,000 MW. In Transmission & Distribution WAPCOS has accomplished more than 14 Projects in India and Abroad.” http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=180339 (2 July 2018)

Sardar Sarovar Dam Water for farmers near CM’s hometown, but not for others Following mismanagement last year, while Sardar Sarovar level is still below the MDDL, the level of 110.63 m, below which water cannot flow to the canals, and hence no canal irrigation is possible, which most of Gujarat is facing severe monsoon deficit. Farmers need water, but only the lucky farmers in CM’s constituency are getting it now. http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-water-for-farmers-near-gujarat-cm-vijay-rupani-s-hometown-but-not-for-others-2632569 (3 July 2018)

Canal irrigation from Narmada River

Micro irrigation must for Saurashtra farmers to get Narmada water, not for Central Gujarat farmers! Another discriminatory scheme being pushed. Why begin with Saurashtra farmers and not Central Gujarat farmers? “The state govt has decided to make micro irrigation systems compulsory for farmers who wish to receive water from canals of the Narmada project. The govt will start this on a pilot basis for the 2 lakh hectare command area of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited in Saurashtra region.” http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-gujarat-micro-irrigation-to-be-compulsory-for-famers-2633323 (5 July 2018)

Maharashtra HC orders Court monitored SIT for irrigation Scam Rebuking the Maharashtra government over the two affidavits filed by the two SITs working at Nagpur and Amravati for the two respective divisions, the High court observed there was no progress in the investigation and the delay will lead to loss of crucial evidences in the matter. Hearing five different PILs together on Friday, the bench comprising Justice BhushanDharmadikari and Justice ZakaHaq expressed displeasure over what it described as no progress in the irrigation muddle. The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has decided to appoint two retired HC judges for day-to-day monitoring of the probe. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-irrigation-scam-bombay-hc-to-appoint-two-retired-judges-to-monitor-probe-5249293/ (7 July 2018) 

The SIT will report on daily or weekly basis to the Two Judges. The will be decided during next hearing slated on July 12, 2018. 
– Nagpur ACB unit is enquiring and investigating into 17 projects while Amravati ACB is investigating 26 projects. Thane ACB is also probing 12 matters. So far out of 35 cases of Nagpur and Amravati divisions covered in open enquiry, offences have been registered in 16 cases, while chargesheet has been filed in only 2 cases, 14 cases are under investigation by respective Anti-Corruption Bureau units. http://thehitavada.com/Encyc/2018/7/7/High-Court-directs-court-monitored-investigation-into-irrigation-scam.aspx (July 7, 2018)

Congress alleges CM’s role in Rs 1767 cr Koyna dam land scam Not clear how much of this is political, but note the involvement of Koyna Dam affected people as the via media to achieve the land transfer from CIDCO to private developers. The Dam, Maharashtra’s pride, was completed over 50 years ago and why was this land allotted to these affected families, is something not answered by the article. https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2018/07/02/Maharashtra-Congress-alleges-Fadnavis-role-in-Rs-1767-crore-land-scam.html (2 July 2018)

Tamil Nadu State Assembly opposes Dam Safety Bill Strange opposition from Tamil Nadu to Dam Safety Bill. The TN Assembly has passed a Unanimous resolution in the last week of June after Cabinet cleared the Bill on June 13, 2018. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/why-dam-safety-bill-bothers-tamil-nadu-5244670/ (4 July 2018)

MONSOON 2018

RBWC 1 June 9 July 2018.JPG
IMD 1 June 9 July 2018 River Basin Wise Cumulative Rainfall Map 

At 46%, Gujarat’s rain deficit this monsoon is the second highest of any state in India, next only to Manipur, which is 68% in rainfall arrears. According to the India meteorological department (IMD), the state should have got 152mm of rain so far, but has received just 82mm.

Within the state, Devbhoomi Dwarka ha the highest rainfall deficit, 94%. It is followed by Kutch (93%), Surendranagar (86%), Porbandar (84%) and Ahmedabad district (74%).  Due to rainfall deficit, sowing in the state is yet to pick up even in the first week of July. In Gujarat in the monsoon, 85.65 lakh hectares (ha) is the average acreage sown. This year, in the first week of July, just 10 % or about 8.6 lakh ha has been sown in the state.

Master

According to officials, the area sown this year is just a third of the area that was been sown by this time last year. Farmers who have not sown their fields yet are worried that if the rains are delayed further, their sowing plans will be pushed back. “Sowing of groundnut and cotton can be affected if there is a further delay in the monsoon. Farmers will wait another 10 days or so, after which the could opt for crops other than groundnut and cotton,” said Kl Dobariya, a ground nut research scientist with Junagarh Agriculture University.”  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/at-46-gujarats-rain-deficit-is-second-highest-in-country/articleshow/64901306.cms (8 July 2018)

As per another report, deficit rainfall to the tune of 8% and its uneven distribution put the overall sown area down by 14% till July 6 as compared to the total acreage during the corresponding period last year.

The total sown aea under Kharif crops stand at 333.76 lakh hectares on July 6 as compared to 388.89 lakh hectares at this time last year. Latest sown area figures released by the agriculture ministry, show that the has, in fact, widened this week. The total sown area stood at 165.21 lakh ha on June 29 as compared to 210.75 lakh ha during corresponding period last year- a gap of nearly 45 lakh ha. But 7 days later, the gap has widened to nearly 55 lakh ha. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-eyes-record-output-but-rain-deficit-reduces-sown-area-by-14/articleshow/64891694.cms (7 July 2018)

Hyderabad also had suffered deficit rainfall even after one month of arrival of southwest monsoon in the state.  As per Hyderabad center of the IIMD, rainfall recorded in Hyderabad from June 1-July 5  is 87.2 mm against the normal rainfall of  127 mm, which is 32 per cent less. Four other districts –  Sircilla, Karimnagar, Malkajgiri and Vikarabad – also faced a deficit rainfall.  Sircilla has recorded 59 pc less than normal rainfall followed by Karimnagar (33 % less), Malkajgiri (30 % less) and Vikarabad (24 % less). http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2018/jul/06/telangana-witnesses-32-per-cent-deficit-rainfall-so-far-1839005.html (6 July 2018)

Also see, Rajasthan still waiting for monsoon rains, water level in reservoirs, ponds falling: https://www.jagran.com/rajasthan/jaipur-rising-thirst-of-the-dams-of-rajasthan-the-pond-reached-on-the-verge-of-drying-18160636.html (5 July 2018)

Why the monsoon progress stopped in June There are a lot of misleading statements here, but it explains some things about the rainfall, while not explaining others.

– The latest round of rains that covers most of central and North India was due to the low pressure area/ depression in Bay of Bengal post June 27. Normally, upto four are expected in June, but there was just one this year. Next low pressure area not developing till July 6/7.

It also explains about Madden Julian Oscillation: The dry phase seen in June is also being attributed to what is known as Madden Julian Oscillation, or MJO, an air-ocean interaction that happens along the equator. MJO is an eastward-moving disturbance of clouds, wind and pressure, that travels around the globe at a speed of 4 to 8 metres per second, for between 30 and 60 days on an average. Sometimes, one revolution around the planet can even take 90 days. As it moves, strong MJO activity often splits the planet into two parts, one in which the MJO is in the active phase and results in enhanced rainfall, and the other in which it suppresses rainfall. In 2015, the MJO activity in June was favourable for the Indian landmass and resulted in an unusually high rainfall. This year, the opposite happened. “This year the lower rainfall in India during June 15 to June 22 was associated with an MJO,” Srinivasan said. “The accurate forecast of the Indian monsoon rainfall beyond a few days depends critically upon the ability of the (climate) model to correctly simulate the phase of the MJO. The models have improved a lot during the past decade and we can expect more improvements in the future.”

Mohapatra of IMD said even the absence of low-pressure areas over Bay of Bengal could be attributed to MJO activity. “Formation of depressions is related to MJO activity. About 60% of the depressions formed in the northern Bay of Bengal during this time are influenced by the MJO,” he said. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/india-monsoon-rainfall-june-low-pressure-floods-5243137/ (3 July 2018)

Govt to experiment with cloud seeding PALLAV BAGLA says: In the next two years the Centre will spend about Rs. 100 crore to develop a standard operating protocol for cloud seeding and try to settle the efficacy of this expensive technology. The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune that is conducting this experiment has chosen a site over Solapur to conduct this complex experiment. A huge set of specially automated rain gauges have been placed to assess the results of cloud seeding and a special weather radar has been installed to aid the experiment. Flying three thousand meters above theground in this very special plane which is equipped to do studies on artificial rain and cloud seeding one gets to comprehend the complexity of the whole operation.TharaPrabhakaran, a scientist at the IITM and M Rajeevan, monsoon specialist and Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences among those involved. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/as-india-battles-monsoon-crisis-meet-scientists-who-are-making-it-rain-1879244 (6 July 2018)

Punjab Decade’s heaviest pre-monsoon rainfallThis report says: “In the past 48 hours, till June 29 morning, Punjab had received over 50 mm rainfall across state (around eight per cent of the annual rain in just two days) and with these heavy rains, the state recorded 80.2 mm rainfall in June”. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/punjab-decades-heaviest-pre-monsoon-rainfall-lifts-paddy-hopes-5239333/

Checking IMD figures, we see that Punjab received 15.2 mm rainfall (444% above normal) for the 24 hours ending on June 29 morning and 13.5 mm (420% above normal) for the 24 hrs ending on June 28 morning, total for 48 hrs ending on June 29 morning as 28.7 mm. The state received 80.2mm rainfall during June 1-29 morning, which is 101% above normal. (30 June 2018)

Maharashtra Nagpur received 265 mm rainfall in 9 hrs  Nagpur, the city in eastern Maharashtra recorded a whopping 265 mm of rainfall in just nine hours between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm on July 6, flooding several localities. The highest 24-hour rain record in Nagpur stood at 304 mm, which was registered on July 12, 1994. http://www.sify.com/news/nagpur-submerged-after-receiving-265-mm-of-rain-in-9-hours-news-national-shhjN1eieijff.html (7 July 2018)

NASA MH Rain map 9 July 2018.png
NASA 9 July 2018 Satellite image showing heavy rain in Central India including Maharashtra & Madhya Pradesh (https://trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov/publications_dir/instant_2.html)

With 1,240.8 mm rainfall, Mumbai has already received 49.34% of the season’s average. The figure stood at 28.6% this time last year. The all-time record on highest July rainfall is of July 27, 2005 (944mm). Last year’s highest July rainfall was on July 18 (163.4mm). https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/incessant-rain-floods-parts-of-city/article24367582.ece (9 July 2018)

FLOOD 2018

Kashmir Crores spent on dredging Jhelum may have led to only a few minutes of reliefSome detailed insight in how unscientific and piecemeal dredging has not helped prevent the Jhelum river from flooding. It also shows that dredging is not silver bullet solution to recurring Kashmir floods:

– On the ground, however, there are problems. For instance, in Srinagar, which has seen most of the dredging work so far, the private company hired for the job in 2015 was unable to complete it. Mohammad Sidiq, assistant director with the department of fisheries, said the dredging was done without technical or scientific supervision. He said that any dredging on the Jhelum needed the clearance of the fisheries department as well as the department of geology and mining. “But they are against each other all the time,” he said.

– Sidiq said that political support to the illegal extraction of sand and rocks from streams and rivers in the Valley had not only hampered the flow of water but also destroyed aquatic life. “The law we have, our main armour, is outdated,” he said. He also rued the lack of support from the police.

– IftikharDrabu, a civil engineer and former regional director for water at the British engineering consultancy, Halcrow, pointed out that no significant measures to contain flooding had been taken in Kashmir since the construction of the Jhelum embankments during Dogra rule before Independence. “Dredging is not the solution, particularly the way it was executed,” he said.

– Drabu said any dredging would delay a spillover for barely minutes. He said this is because when the Jhelum river floods, it discharges water at the rate of 1.20 lakh cusecs, or four times its carrying capacity. Thus, even if the Jhelum was dredged properly, it would not be enough.

– So far, the govt plans to dredge about 14 lakh cubic meters of the river, including 7 lakh cubic meters in Srinagar. But Drabu said: “Twelve lakh cubic metres of excavation would provide relief for [only] 20 minutes.”

– Further, the loss of the traditional floodplain, Kandizal – on which residential colonies have been constructed – has made Srinagar more vulnerable. “Kandizal is the natural floodplain and inundating it has been the traditional approach to flood protection of the city,” said Drabu. “It should be activated during floods and there should not be any politics about it. If you build in a floodplain you should be ready to suffer the consequences.” https://scroll.in/article/884865/kashmir-flood-control-crores-spent-on-dredging-jhelum-may-have-led-to-only-a-few-minutes-of-relief (3 July 2018)

One more piece on Kashmir floods reports rampant corruption in dredging and flood management projects:

– Naeem Akhtar, a former minister in the PDP-BJP govt, said that the Valley is now vulnerable to floods because the higher slopes were dug up and the soil used to fill up the flood basins, which changed the architecture and topography of the region. For example, successive governments filled a flood basin in Bemina, which used to be marshy land known for hunting.

– He also said that Kashmir will soon be in a position where it cannot sustain 24 hours of rain, and that in the future, low-lying areas of Srinagar will not be able to handle even two days of rain because you cannot stop siltation. “Dredging or desilting will not help until and unless the flood channels are freed of illegal constructions,” Akhtar said, adding that the state govt will have to adopt a deforestation policy to bring about change.

– Sources claim that the money sanctioned to the state was bungled, and that politicians and bureaucrats had pocketed it. Also, while desilting the Jhelum, Reach Dredging extracted sand from the banks and sold it in the open market, instead of paying the government. Sources said a few politicians bagged this money, and it did not reach the state’s coffers. The private company has refused to comment on the allegation. https://www.firstpost.com/india/kashmir-valley-braces-for-another-flood-as-questions-over-money-meant-for-jhelum-desilting-project-emerge-4644481.html (2 July 2018)

North East Flood situation The three main sub-divisions in Northeast India i.e. Sikkim, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh have been receiving heavy rainfall activity since last few days, which has led to flood situation in many parts of these areas.

In the last 24 hours from 08:30 am on July 3, Cherrapunji recorded 225 mm of rain, followed by Mangan 80.7 mm, Pasighat 66.3 mm, Itanagar 42.7 mm, Tezpur 39.1 mm, Shillong 34 mm, Dhubri 20.6 mm, Silchar 18.1 mm, Dibrugarh 12.3 mm, Golaghat 6.6 mm. The heavy rains can be attributed to the eastern part of the axis of Monsoon trough that lies close to the foothills of the Himalayas.

A cyclonic circulation is seen coming up over North Bay of Bengal which is likely to pull the Monsoon trough southwards. On account of this, temporary reduction in rainfall activity over few pockets will be seen. However, most parts will continue to receive widespread rains as moist southerly winds are likely to continue and no change in wind pattern is expected. https://www.skymetweather.com/content/weather-news-and-analysis/heavy-rain-in-northeast-india-to-aggravate-flood-situation/ (4 July 2018)

Assam Floods Incessant rains in Assam’s Chirang district have made rivers like Aai, Nangalbhanga, Makra and Champa to overflow and cause floods, causing several villages to be submerged.

– In this peak flood season, the water resource department is building an embankment across the Singora river in Lakhimpur district to control the flood situation in Noubaicha. People are unhappy that the WRD did not do this before the monsoon arrived.

– Severe floods have also grasped several parts of Bongaigaon district with Manikpur heavily affected by the flood.

– Heavy erosion caused by the Buroi river at Gohpur in  Biswanath district have caused panic among local people.

– Frustrated with the authorities and the public representatives, people have started building embankments to stop further erosion. https://northeastlivetv.org/2018/07/04/assam-flood-rivers-in-chirang-district-overflowing-heavy-erosion-by-buroi-river-in-biswanath/ (4 July 2018)

Uttar Pradesh The embankments downstream Kodiram and Maloli on Ami and Rapti rivers are in dilapidated condition and has not been repaired which has raised flood threats in many villages in Gorakhpur district, Uttar Pradesh: https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/gorakhpur-city-not-yet-dead-damaged-by-dams-18152816.html (3 July 2018)

Ganga river eroding banks in Mirzapur district Uttar Pradesh: https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/mirzapur-worried-over-the-katan-ganga-desperate-to-enter-the-city-18162764.html (5 July 2018)

Hindi report mentioning rising water level in Sharda river. https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/uttarakhand/other-cities/cloudburst-hit-munsiaris-balati-in-pithoragarh/articleshow/64821939.cms(3 July 2018)

Punjab Miscreants dig up tunnel connecting bhakra canal to cause flooding in Khanauri segmentA group of alert farmers on July 1, 2018 foiled an attempt being made by some miscreants to dig up a tunnel and connect it with bhakhra canal in HarigarhGhaelan village near khanauri segment to cause flooding. The farmers spotted a cloth covering up a ditch in an open area near the Bhakhra canal. As they lifted the cloth they discovered a tunnel that was 2.5 feet wide, 13ft long and dug up eight feet under the ground towards the bhakra canal… The police said that it was too early to comment on the real motive behind digging up of the tunnel but attempt to cause flooding appeared to be the only reason behind digging up of the tunnel. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/miscreants-dig-up-tunnel-connecting-bhakra-canal-to-cause-flooding-in-khanauri-segment/articleshow/64818063.cms (1 July 2018)

DROUGHT 2018

Bundelkhand Drought brings a tide of migrationAccording to a study carried out in May 2018 by BundelkhandJalManch, up to 55 percent of farmers once living in rural areas of the Bundelkhand region have migrated at least temporarily to other places since last November. The study, conducted in about 200 villages in the region, found that most of those migrating were 15 to 45 years old. http://news.trust.org/item/20180705064417-wk8ls (5 July 2018)

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Cauvery River Water Dispute Board asks Karnataka to release 31.24 TMC water to Tamil Nadu in JulyEven as the Karnataka govt had on June 30 decided to appeal in the Supreme Court against the setting up of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA), the CWMA, in its first meeting on July 2, ordered Karnataka to release 31.24 TMC water to Tamil Nadu in July.” The authority directed Karnataka to ensure balance quantity (of water) for July, delinquently adjusting the excess quantity of water realised by Tamil Nadu in June, subject to the assessment and recommendations by the regulation committee,” Masood Hussain Chairman CWMA said. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/release-31-24-tmc-water-to-tamil-nadu-in-july-cauvery-management-authority-to-ktaka-2661561.html (2 July 2018)

RIVERS

GANGA Swami Sanand on Fast: Swami Gyanswaroop Sanand, on July 5 rejected Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s pleas to end his agitation.

Sources said Gadkari had appealed to Swami Sanand to end his fast and assured him that no new power project would come up on the river. Swami Sanand said he would not call off the agitation till his demand for passing the draft of the Ganga Protection Act was fulfilled.

“As the Union minister’s letter has nothing substantial as far my concerns for the Ganga are concerned, I will submit my reply to him within a few days”, said Swami Sanand. He also expressed concern over waste water being flowed into the Ganga. Swami Sanand said he had been demanding to stop work on the VishnugadPipalkoti, SingoliBhawari and PhataByung hydropower projects, passing of the draft of the Ganga Protection Act and the creation of a national Ganga follower committee, whose permission would be mandatory before taking any decision with regard to the river. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/uttarakhand/ganga-crusader-s-fast-enters-day-14/615766.html (6 July 2018)

16 days have passed since Swami GyanSwaroopSanand (Prof GD Agarwal) started fast demanding revival of Ganga river. https://khabar.ndtv.com/news/uttarakhand/swami-gyan-swaroop-sanand-is-on-hunger-strike-for-cleanliness-of-river-ganga-1876973 (3 July 2018)

See link to brief video of Swami GyanSwaroopSanand.  https://www.ft.com/content/82ca2e3c-6369-11e8-90c2-9563a0613e56

National Seminar on ‘River Action Plan, Flood Management and Basin Development’ An organisation called Consulting Engineers Association of India is organising a Seminar, its website says: “Considering the magnitude of problems related to Water Management, Sedimentation, Flooding and Pollution in rivers experienced across the country, the CEAI is organising a Seminar on ‘River Action Plan, Flood Management and Basin Development’ on 27th & 28th July 2018 at Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, 19 Ashoka Road, Connaught Place, New Delhi 110001.” Its sponsored by a lot of govt bodies, aid organisations and mainstream organisations and almost no participation from independent perspectives. https://ceai.org.in/events/seminar-on-river-action-plan-flood-management-and-basin-development/  (27, 28 July 2018)

Arunachal Pradesh Rivers drying up? On July 7, 2018, the Arunachal Pradesh Minister for Environment and Forests NabamRebia said more than 200 rivers and streams across Arunachal Pradesh have dried up. This, he felt, would soon make the State face shortage. The scenario, he indicated, could be as grim as Shimla, the capital of another “presumably water-abundant” Himalayan State that underwent a severe water crisis recently. Mr. Rebia attributed the drying up of water bodies to rampant destruction of forests besides thinning glaciers in the Eastern Himalayas due to climate change. “The State’s forest cover has decreased from 82% to 79% and catchment areas of many rivers are under threat because of jhum (slash-and-burn) cultivation and landslides,” he said. Large-scale hunting of animals, too, has been a factor in the depletion of the State’s natural resources, Mr. Rebia said. He added that the State government would ban hunting of wildlife. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/arunachal-pradesh-indias-hydroelectric-powerhouse-stares-at-water-scarcity/article24366916.ece (July 8, 2018)

Jharkhand Observing ‘NadiMahotsav’ (river festival) with a plantation drive 9 lakh saplings were planted on the banks of 24 rivers covering all districts of Jharkhand on July 2. The aim is to plant 2.5 cr saplings in the state by August 15, CM Raghubar Das said while inaugurating the event on the banks of the Swarnrekha river in Ranchi. Maximum of 2,36,000 saplings will be planted beside Ganga River in Sahebganj, he added.

The forest department aims to plant saplings on 15,300 ha, besides restoring natural forests on 7,000 ha this year. Among the saplings planted will be species found naturally in forests, which the locals are dependent on. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/jul/02/plantation-drive-to-protect-rivers-in-jharkhand-nine-lakh-saplings-planted-in-a-day-on-river-banks-1837153.html (2 July 2018)

CAUVERY Study River needs cleaning, not war over water-sharing According to a report, Cauvery is one of the most toxic rivers because of the untreated effluents released in “its tributaries Noyyal and Amaravati rivers. Findings of a study conducted by Anna University say the river “is carrying more chemical load such as Sodium, Magnesium, Bicarbonate and Chloride to the Bay of Bengal when compared to other rivers in southern India”. https://www.dailyo.in/politics/cauvery-river-water-sharing-karnataka-tamil-nadu-cauvery-water-management-authority-pollution-toxic/story/1/25284.html (4 July 2018)

IRRIGATION

Policy Kick starting KUSUM Leaving other claims aside, the claim that KisanUrjaSurakshaevamUhaanMahaabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme can check groundwater overexploitation seems totally wrong and questionable. http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/iwmi-tata/PDFs/iwmi-tata_water_policy_research_highlight-issue_01_2018.pdf (2018)

URBAN RIVERS

Uttar Pradesh Gomati cleaning Publicity driven river cleaning campaigns do no good to rivers as this report shows. It rightly says that riverfront projects are adding to stresses on rivers. https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/06/calling-yogi-adityanaths-spade-a-spade/#.Wzl5v2jVuns.twitter (28 June 2018)

SAND MINING

Karnataka Bridge built across Phalguni river collapses A bridge built across the Phalguni river at Mullarapatna connecting Mangaluru and Bantwal collapsed on July 2 allegedly due to rampant sand mining. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/karnataka-bridge-built-across-phalguni-river-collapses/articleshow/64736771.cms (25 June 2018)

Image result for karnataka bridge collapse phalguni river image

Gujarat Two booked for illegal sand mining Two persons were booked for illegal sand mining on a private land in Desartaluka on July 2.The department officials seized the excavating machine and got the case registered against Parmar and Lala. Police said that although the mining activity was taking place in a private land, the duo had violated Gujarat Mineral (Prevention of Illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage) Rules. “The accused did not have any permit for mining, storage and transportation of sand therefore a case has been registered,” said a police official. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/two-booked-for-illegal-sand-mining-on-pvt-land/articleshow/64847604.cms

WETLANDS

Gujarat Debris “fill up” 44 lakh sq ft wetland in Vadodara Over the last 12 years, according to the Gujarat Ecology Commission, the Vadodara city has lost about 44 lakh sqft of ponds and talaav areas, “much of this due to illegal or legalized dumping by the VMC and unscrupulous citizens.” The letter pointed out that 16 out of 41 ponds do not exist anymore.  https://www.counterview.net/2018/07/debris-fill-up-44-lakh-sq-ft-wetland-in.html (4 July 2018)

WATER OPTIONS

Gujarat SURAT city treats 57 MLD of sewage and turns it into 40 MLD of potable water, which is supplied to the nearby Pandesara industrial estate, which has several dyeing and printing mills. “The municipal body has been supplying treated water to industry for the past four years. The treated water meets all parameters of high quality drinking water,” said AnandVashi, director of Enviro Control Associates, which runs the plant under the PPP model. Another plant to produce 32 million litres of treated water per day will be ready by February.

– This is besides the solid waste management system that this article describes. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/surats-underground-garbage-system-shows-way-to-delhi/articleshow/64819665.cms (2 July 2018)

Uttrakhand Springsflowing once again 312 villages (out of 1,724) in Pithoragarh district have successfully implemented springshed management project, says this article. They adopted catchment area approach by identifying sources of springs, understanding their history and doing a diagnosis of the issues due to which they are drying up, before identifying areas that need to be rejuvenated. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/water/springs-are-flowing-once-again-in-these-uttarakhand-villages-thanks-to-water-champions–61002 (2 July 2018)

URBAN WATER

Karnataka With focus on big water projects, sustainability gets a miss in budget In the backdrop of growing need for water in Bengaluru, chief minister HD Kumaraswamy made two announcements on water projects directly linked to the IT city: Speeding up the Pre Feasibility Report for the Mekedatu project and transporting Bellandur Lake’s treated water to rural pockets. What he missed out, however, was a mention of any sustainable solution, like rainwater harvesting. CM was presenting the Budget on July 5, 2018.

– “The govt has never been serious about rainwater harvesting policies. Despite all the focus on water scarcity in Bengaluru, lack of provisions for sustainable water management at the local level is a disappointment,” said water conservation expert S Vishwanath. “The govt cannot keep mining water from the river without ensuring that it continues to flow or understanding it at a catchment or river-basin level. It is critical that governance and institutions be strengthened, rather than just focusing on big projects,” Vishwanath said.

– “Bengaluru rains generate 15 tmc (thousand million cubic feet) of water every year. Instead of implementing projects such as Mekedatu, the priority should be to harvest rainwater. The city requires 18 tmc of water of which 15 tmc is available in the form of rain water alone. Therefore the govt should focus on groundwater recharge,” said Prof TV Ramachandra from the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/with-focus-on-big-water-projects-sustainability-gets-a-miss-in-karnataka-budget/articleshow/64878603.cms (6 July 2018)

GROUND WATER

Study Drier wells in Deccan Plateau would deepen farm distress Some important findings: Most of the recharged groundwater would move out of the watershed as increased base flow from 17% to 154%, the study found. This would result in only a small increase in net recharge of 0.2 mm per year. Base flow is the flow of water entering stream channels from groundwater sources. A 100-year base flow event is “predicted to be a 5-year event in the future,” the study reports.

– The study predicts that if irrigation expansion follows historical trends, “earlier and more frequent well drying, a source of farmers’ distress in India, will worsen in the future despite the recharge gains from increased rainfall.”

– “This clearly raises the flag for urgent action in terms of policies for managing the groundwater efficiently as well as also for ensuring the rainwater harvesting for recharging groundwater”.

– In some areas, the length of growing period is getting reduced drastically and with the change in the intensity of the rainfall, water demand during crop growing season will become a challenge. https://indiaclimatedialogue.net/2018/07/04/drier-wells-in-deccan-plateau-would-deepen-farm-distress/ (4 July 2018)

DELHI WATER

Delhi water woes Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP blames the govt for mismanagement of water. He fears the water problem is going to get worse because cities are not looking for solutions themselves.”Delhi gets water from the Bhakhra, Yamuna and Ganga (rivers). Mumbai gets it from a dam in Thane and other places. Bengaluru lifts it from the Cauvery River. These are lazy solutions. Mumbai gets 2,400 millimetres of rain per year. Why can it not harvest that?” Mr Thakkar asks.

He faults governments on two counts — the centre and states have no urban water policy and no solution for the increasing problems posed by sewage. “We treat only a fraction of the sewage,” he says.States like Haryana and Punjab, he says, should also be talking to their farmers about cropping patterns. Though groundwater in the two northern states has fallen way below adequate levels (by 60 to 100 metres in some cases), farmers continue to grow rice, a water-guzzling crop. https://m.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1495958/water-woes (2 July 2018)

AGRICULTURE

Punjab’s arhtiyas: sins of commission P Sainath on Punjab’s agricultural crisis: “Commission agents (arhtiyas) are a powerful lobby in the state’s agriculture and politics. Attempts to resolve Punjab’s agrarian crisis without breaking their grip on the farmer will not succeed.”

A man sitting at a table in a blue turban

– How powerful they are: “In July last year, they honoured Chief Minister Amarinder Singh with the title of ‘Fakhr-e-Quam’ (‘Pride of the Community’). Local media termed the event “a mega felicitation function.” It came soon after the chief minister had said it would be difficult to waive off the debt owed by farmers to the arhtiyas.” https://ruralindiaonline.org/articles/punjabs-arhtiyas-sins-of-commission (2 July 2018)

SOUTH ASIA

Transboundary EIAs could reduce conflict over river projects Ignoring cross border impacts of large infrastructure projects will spark conflict along rivers, argues Peter King. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/07/03/transboundary-eias-could-reduce-conflict-over-river-projects/ (3 July 2018)

Bhutan Mangdechhu tariff to be finalised before Nov. 2018 The electricity export tariff for Mangdechhu hydropower project, which is expected to complete latest by November this year, would be set before the commission of the plant, the Indian govt assured LyonchhenTsheringTobgay during his meeting with Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi on July 6, 2018 in New Delhi. The inauguration of the 720 MW project is planned as one of the major events of the 50th anniversary celebrations of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Prime Minister NarendraModi will make his second visit to Bhutan later this year. http://www.kuenselonline.com/mangdechhu-tariff-to-be-finalised-before-november-this-year/ (7 July 2018)

Bangladesh ‘Farakka, Gazaldoba responsible for flood’ Some key findings of the conference titled ‘Flood, Water Logging and Landslide’ with the participation of local and international experts held on 12-13 January 2018 in Dhaka. Bangladesh should immediately sign the 1997’s Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses of the United Nations.

– Bangladesh to inspire India and other neighbouring countries to sign the convention to ensure fair shares of international waters for Bangladesh.

– “We must not blindly follow the prescription of foreign experts and aid groups regarding the policy of rivers and waters,” observed the experts, as quoted by Habib, adding, “We must learn from the past mistakes.” http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/178959/Farakka-Galzaldoba-responsible-for-Bangladesh  (3 July 2018)

Nepal Susta locals break Gandak dam to discharge floodwatersLocals at Gudariya in Susta rural municipality-2, Nawalparasi, broke a part of Gandak embankment and channelized floodwaters into the canal after water gushed into their settlements and inundated their fields following rainfall. Locals had broken the wall last year saying the floodwaters could not find its way out due to the Gandak barrage. The Gandak Canal is a joint irrigation and power project between Nepal and India. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-07-03/susta-locals-break-gandak-canal-to-extricate-floodwaters.html (3 July 2018)

Also see an excellent article about the impacts of uncontrolled road building in the mountains of Nepal: https://www.nepalitimes.com/banner/from-nowhere-to-nowhere/ (6 July 2018)

Pakistan Heavy rains have disrupted life in Punjab province At least 14 people were killed and 19 injured as torrential rains wreaked havoc in Pakistan’s Punjab and northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, officials said.Theauthority said that Punjab was worst hit by the rains where 12 people were killed, 17 others injured and one house was washed away by the rain water. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, two people were killed and two others injured as heavy rains kept on lashing various areas of the province over the last two days. The official report revealed that most of the casualties happened due to roof collapse incidents and electrocution. https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/14-killed-19-injured-as-rains-wreak-havoc-in-pakistan-s-punjab-and-khyber-pakhtunkhwa/story-Q0THibbRxjDhYgIoh1qc4M.html (6 July 2018)

THE REST OF WORLD

South America Environmental Authority Halts Operations on Hidroituango Dam in Colombia The National Authority of Environmental Licenses (ANLA) ordered EmpresasPúblicas de Medellín (EPM) to suspend operations on the Hidroituango dam in northern Antioquia, Colombia, in early June. The order requires the company to hold all non-essential operations until they complete a series of requirements, including an expert review of the stability of the dam’s infrastructure, effectively suspending Hidroituango’s environmental license. In spite of ongoing requests for access to information and participation in decision-making on the dam, communities were not informed of the suspension order until late last week.

– Importantly, ANLA should require that the technical study of the dam’s infrastructure take into account vital environmental and social considerations to assess whether this project should continue. Plus, ANLA should demand that this study be carried out by independent experts not chosen by the company, in order to fully ensure its accuracy and complete impartiality. https://www.ciel.org/news/environmental-authority-halts-operations-hidroituango-dam-colombia/ (3 July 2018)

United States Salmon Are Booming in Oregon’s Rogue River 8 obsolete dams have been removed or modified on the Rogue River over the past decade. Now its salmon help sustain commercial fishing, despite recent droughts that have devastated fish in other rivers. https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/articles/2018/06/26/salmon-are-booming-in-oregons-rogue-river-dam-removal-may-be-why (26 June 2018)

Study Dams breeding ground for mosquitoes Dams-Command Area-Malaria connection has been known for a century now. First step is to honestly assess the impacts and look for options. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/04/dams-perfect-breeding-ground-mosquitoes-eradicate-malaria/ (4 July 2018)

Africa Ethiopia’s Dams Threaten Thousands of Kenyans Some 300,000 Kenyans who depend on Turkana, the world’s biggest desert lake, could run short of drinking water and fish if Ethiopia moves ahead with plans to construct two more dams on Omo river upstream, activists said.Also known as the Jade Sea, Lake Turkana, in northwestern Kenya, gets 90 percent of its water from the Omo River in Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, using its rivers to generate power for manufacturing and export.

UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency, put Kenya’s Lake Turkana on its list of endangered World Heritage Sites last week because of the “disruptive effect” of an existing Ethiopian dam and irrigated sugar estates over Kenya’s northern border.Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s sprawling capital in the highlands bordering the Great Rift Valley rejects the claims, saying its own studies show the dam will regulate the river’s flow and stabilize water levels in the flood-prone region.

Ethiopia’s Gibe III Dam, which was completed in 2016, and irrigation for the Kuraz sugar plantations have already reduced water into Turkana from the Omo River, said RudoSanyanga, Africa director of the lobby group International Rivers.The lake is likely to shrink slowly, reducing breeding grounds for fish, and become too salty for fish to survive and too toxic for people and animals to drink, possibly triggering conflict and overcrowding, she said on July 2.

Ethiopia is also at loggerheads with Egypt over another dam that Addis Ababa is building on the River Nile that Cairo fears will reduce waters running to its fields and reservoirs from Ethiopia’s highlands. https://www.voanews.com/a/environmentalists-ethiopia-s-dams-threaten-thousands-of-kenyans/4466027.html (3 July 2018)

International Rivers Global Rivers Protection Movement The Global River Protection Movement Freshwater is critical for life on earth, yet faced with tremendous threats. Permanent legal protections that ensure rivers’ critical ecosystem functions are preserved, and that recognize the rights of river communities, are desparately needed across the globe. The scale of change that we seek cannot be accomplished without the work of hundreds of partners and allies working to protect rivers locally to globally. Our River Protection Action Hub seeks to consolidate key resources for all groups and individuals working to protect their rivers. https://www.internationalrivers.org/campaigns/the-global-river-protection-movement (July 2018)

Study Global  river, stream surface area 45% higher than thought The surface area of global rivers and streams is about 45 per cent greater than previously estimated, say scientists.

– Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Texas A&M University in the US used satellite images, on-the-ground measurements and a statistical model to determine how much of the earth is covered by rivers and streams.

– This research, published in the journal Science, differed from past studies of global river and stream surface areas that were based on theoretical extrapolations of small amounts of actual data.

– In this study, the research team was able to directly measure both the smallest streams and world’s largest rivers through on-the-ground measurements and satellite images, and then use a statistical model to estimate river and stream coverage across the globe. As part of the study, the researchers built the Global River Widths from Landsat database, which contains almost 60 million measurements of river width worldwide.

– NASA will use data from this research to identify river segments during its NASA Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission, which will launch in 2021. The mission will be NASA’s first satellite mission specifically focused on measuring rivers and lakes. https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/global-river-stream-surface-area-45-pc-higher-than-thought-118062900415_1.html (29 July 2018)

Europe Most of rivers and lakes fail water quality tests The vast majority of Europe’s rivers, lakes and estuaries have failed to meet minimum ecological standards for habitat degradation and pollution, according to a damning new report. Only 40% of surface water bodies surveyed by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) were found to be in a good ecological state, despite EU laws and biodiversity protocols. England was one of the poorer performers to emerge from the State of Our Waters report, which studied 130,000 waterways.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/03/most-of-europes-rivers-and-lakes-fail-water-quality-tests-report (3 July 2018)

Germany Renewables hit record of 41.5% in first half of 2018 The share of renewable energy sources in Germany’s net electricity generation reached a new high in the first half 2018. Wind turbines, solar panels and other renewable energy sources contributed about 41.5 per cent to the country’s power mix, according to Energy Charts, a website run by research institute Fraunhofer ISE.

With a total net output of 113 terawatt hours (TWh) since January, the renewables share was nearly nine percent higher than during the same period last year and over a third higher than in 2014.

Between January and June, wind turbines produced 55.2 TWh, making them the strongest renewable energy source in the German power mix second only to lignite plants, which produced 66.7 TWh. Solar + Wind produced 41.5% of electricity generated in Germany in first half of 2018 https://reneweconomy.com.au/renewables-hit-record-41-5-germany-first-half-2018/ (3 July 2018)

Middle East UAE to tow Antarctic Icebergs for drinking water This can have many implications, including conflicts? Pilot phase to happen in latter part of 2019 and actual project in 2020, at a cost of Rs 50-60 million. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/uae-iceberg-project-uae-firm-national-advisor-bureau-limited-to-tow-antarctic-icebergs-for-water-nee-1876258 (2 July 2018)

CLIMATE CHANGE

As Earth warms up, expect intense, extreme rain leading to more flash floodsTrue; more rain is not a blessing when it is dumped over short periods of time:

– A paper by Vimal Mishra, a climate scientist at IIT Gandhinagar and his team showed that such short duration rainfall events that can trigger flash floods are even more sensitive to warming temperatures than 24-hour rainfall extremes.

– If there is an increase in average temperatures of 1 degree Celsius, there would be a greater increase in the events of sub-daily rainfall extremes than daily extremes. The researchers found that the frequency of such events would increase by 20% if global temperature rises by 1.5 degrees Celsius and by 25% if they increase by 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial level.

– Urban areas in India have witnessed 47 eccentric precipitation extremes in the past affecting human lives and infrastructure as per a recent paper.  Bangalore received 35% of its annual average rainfall in 2018even before the onset of the monsoon. In 2017 Ahmedabad got 1 80mm in 24 hours and in 2005, Mumbai Metropolitan Region got flooded when it poured 994 mm in a 24 hours.

– Between 1950 and 2017, India has reported 285 floods that have impacted 850 million people, left 19 million homeless and killed about 71,000. In the past decade, flood damage has led to losses of US $ 3 billion every year, according to the International Disaster Database.

– Short bursts of extreme precipitation events may boost the total amount of rainfall but they do not necessarily reduce water stress or significantly recharge the water table. On the contrary, much of the rain discharge is difficult to manage and often causes flash floods, which is detrimental to infrastructure.

Other researchers have reached similar conclusions about widespread extreme rains that causes flooding. “We looked at the entire country and found a threefold increase in widespread extreme rain events over central India,” Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, said.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/as-earth-warms-up-expect-intense-extreme-rain-causing-more-flash-floods/story-Q5r7szARx1CA60cXryzjUO.html(6 July 2018)

ENVIRONMENT

Uttarakhand HC declares animal kingdom a legal entity with rights of a ‘living person’ A division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh of Uttarakhand HC on July 4, 2018 declared animal kingdom a legal entity with rights of a ‘living person’. “The entity acts like a natural person but only through a designated person, whose acts are processed within the ambit of law”. This means the animal kingdom could be represented by a custodian. The court also declared all citizens of Uttarakhand “persons in loco parentis” (in the place of a parent) giving them the responsibility to protect animals and ensure their welfare. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/animal-kingdom-isn-t-property-has-rights-of-a-living-person-uttarakhand-hc/story-xKH5maDn53kaou4blnaxeP.html (5 July 2018)

Study Soil Loss in Uttarakhand In this study, we assess quantitative soil loss in the Himalayan ecosystem of Uttarakhand, India using universal soil loss equation and geographic information system. The analysis shows that about 359,000 (6.71%), 473,000 (8.84%) and 1,750,000 ha (32.72%) area is under moderately severe (15–20 tonne ha–1 year –1), severe (20–40 tonne ha–1 year–1) and very severe (40–80 tonne ha–1 year–1) soil loss respectively. It clearly indicates that about 48.3% area of the state is above the tolerance limit of 11.2 tonne ha–1 year–1 of soil loss.  http://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/115/01/0108.pdf (July 10, 2018)

A K Goel appointed NGT’s new chairperson Justice A K Goel who retired from the Supreme Court on July 6, 2018 been appointed as Chairperson National Green Tribunal (NGT) for a period of five years. http://theleaflet.in/retired-justice-a-k-goel-appointed-as-chairperson-of-national-green-tribunal/ (6 July 2018)

His appointment has raised eyebrows in the legal circles given his views on post-retirement appointments. Just two months ago, Goel had denounced the practice of appointments of judges to commissions and tribunals after retirement.

“The tribunals should not be heaven for retired persons and appointment process should not result in decisions being influenced if the government itself a litigant and the appointing authority at the same time. There should be restriction on acceptance of any employment after retirement,” Goel had observed in a judgment he pronounced on 7 May.

The post of the NGT chairperson had been lying vacant for over six months, since the retirement of justice Swatanter Kumar on 20 December last year. There has been speculation that the post was kept vacant by the government for Goel to retire and take over. The government’s notification Friday appointing Goel came hours after he delivered his farewell speech.

The dichotomy of Goel’s actions and his views expressed through his judgment has reignited the debate over verdicts influenced in favour of the Centre in lieu of post-retirement benefits. https://theprint.in/governance/sc-judge-who-wrote-against-govt-hiring-retiree-judges-is-made-ngt-head-after-his-retirement/80498/ (9 July 2018)

Also see, DRP News Bulletin 2 July 2018 DRP News Bulletin 25 June 2018

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One thought on “DRP News Bulletin 9 July 2018: National Meeting on Inland Fishworkers in Delhi on July 10, 2018

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